Third-party candidates Johnson and Stein fail to qualify for first debate

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Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson listens as his running mate vice presidential candidate Bill Weld speaks at a campaign rally in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson listens as his running mate vice presidential candidate Bill Weld speaks at a campaign rally in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be the only two candidates at the first presidential debate.

The commission overseeing the debates invited the two major-party candidates to its Sept. 26 event on Friday. Libertarian party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein did not get invited.

The commission said the two third-party candidates didn’t register enough support in polls to qualify. The commission has set a 15 percent threshold. Johnson averaged 8.4 percent in the polls the commission considered, and Stein 3.2 percent.

The third-party candidates could qualify for either of the final two debates in October if their polling average clears 15 percent then. But by missing out on the initial debate, they are losing their best chance to gain the attention needed to achieve that.

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The post Third-party candidates Johnson and Stein fail to qualify for first debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.